Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Kensington Market Winter Solstice Parade

John and I have missed all the Winter Solstice celebrations in Kensington Market so despite the drizzle on the night, we were determined to get there this year. 
We were beguiled by this collection of clowns singing an satirical version of The Twelve Days of Christmas on Augusta Avenue.
Kensington Avenue had some wonderful shadow-puppet theatres. Some of the kids in the audience got a chance to go backstage
and help put on the puppet show.
Other theatres lined the street.
Lantern bearers mixed with the crowd.
These young thespians were in full performance mode. The green knight sang an exhortation to dance and sing in celebration of the new year.
My favourite group was this screeching chorus of hags singing songs about longing for love. 
Great fun!  We'll definitely try to return next year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Tree Party

 Our friend Nancy had her annual tree-trimming party last weekend.
Nancy and Gareth
Nancy behind the bar,  with Monika and Glenn, Cathy and Chantel in the foreground.
 Nancy's signature Christmas cocktail -- the Poinsettia. It is the perfect pick-me-up before the serious business of decorating the Christmas tree.
 Carmelized onions and cheese grilled on focaccia -- typical of the amazing fare.
Thanks for having us, Nancy.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Walk to the AGO Turner Exhibition

Recently after a breakfast at the Mars Diner on College Street, John and I ducked down Lippincott Street on our way to the Art Gallery of Ontario.
 We love the little workmen's homes on Lippincott
 although we were surprised to find new structures there
 and on Oxford Street as we headed east.
 As we came to Augusta Avenue on our way through Kensington Market we turned right at the Big Fat Burrito restaurant.
 Crossing Spadina Avenue we walked along Cecil Street with the Ukranian Church in the distance.
 A last jaunt down Beverley Street to the AGO brought us past the grand old yellow brick buildings above Dundas St West.
 We'd come to see the exhibition of work by J.M.W. Turner, Painting Set Free. We were particularly floored by his gorgeous watercolours. This is Ehrenbreitstein, 1841.
 Funeral at Lausanne, graphite and watercolour, 1841.
The Blue Rigi: Sample Study, around 1841-1842.
 Goldau, with the Lake Zuh in  the distance: Sample Study, graphite and watercolour, 1842
Turner's in that abstract vein are well represented.  Peace - Burial at Sea.
 Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth making Signals in Shallow Water, and going by the Lead. The Author was in this Storm on the Night the Ariel left Harwich, exhibited in 1842.
 The mix of abstract visions and hazy apparitions is quite overwhelming. Whalers (Boiling Blubber) Entangled in Flaw Ice, Endeavouring to Extricate themselves exhibited in 1846, oil on canvas.
 Rough Sea with Wreckage
 Ancient Rome: Agrippina Landing with the ashes of Germanicus (detail). c.1839. oil on canvas.
 Let's end our visit with two wonderful watercolours. Rain Clouds, around 1845, watercolour on paper. (above)
 and the gorgeous  Bedroom in the Palazzo Giustinian (the Hotel Europa, Venice), around 1840. watercolour on paper. This is a perfect selection of Turner's late paintings. The watercolours would have made a fab show on their own. The vast collection of Turners at the Tate London can be overkill, this whets the appetite perfectly.
 Back on the street, John and I headed down Sullivan to admire artist, Charlie Pachter's home. I think the mix of old architecture with this modern look works very well. 
 Maybe that's what's inspired some other new building. This one at the corner of Sullivan and Huron.
 i liked this view of OCAD down an alley between Sullivan and Grange.
 The east corner of Grange and Huron. I have lots of memories from the late 60s, early 70s here.
A quick hop west across Spadina Avenue and we were headed down to Queen Street West and our regular route home.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Royal Winter Fair, 2015

John and I went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair yesterday.
We started in the barn with the domestic farm animals where we found this sheep in a protective coat
and these charming white-eared goats.
Those goats are certainly cute!
Fun signage abounded.
We liked the on-site camps of the farmers involved
and the sometimes glamorously decorated stables.
When we crossed to the Horse Palace
beautiful Clydesdale stallions were being judged for prizes. Sometimes posing,
sometimes being trotted around the ring
for the judges to consider.
Here's John with the rest of the audience.
The judges
were moving around
to choose a winner
whilst the visitors watched.
As we left the Clydesdale mares were about to enter the ring.
Before we left we had to check out the winning pumpkins and squash
and fruit and vegetables.
This area always reminds me
of the country fairs of my youth in Southern Ontario.
Wonderful to have it happening in the big city.
Soon we were retrieving our bikes from under the fluttering maple leaves and on our way home.